A child who is still developing his or her articulation skills may need some feedback in order to fix speech errors and improve intelligibility.
The following tips will help you respond to a child who produces articulation errors:
- Repeat the misarticulated word in your response with a slight emphasis on the target word. For example, if the student says, “I want the wed pencil,” you can respond, “Okay—here is the red”
- Describe features about the misarticulated sound. For example, “The /s/ is a hissy sound. The air goes sssss like a snake hissing” or “The /v/ is made when our teeth bite down on our lip.”
- Give the child a consistent visual cue for the target sound, such as dragging a finger across the lips for /m/ or putting a thumb under the chin for /k/ or /g/.
- For a child who can read, contrast sounds that contain the correct sound and the incorrect sound by writing them out. For example, you can write out thin fin and show the child that one is made with a th and the other with an f.
- If you know that the child is able to produce the target sound, give him or her feedback on what you heard. You can say, “I heard you say doe, did you mean doe or go?” or feign difficulty understanding, such as, “You want to doe home? What do you mean, doe home?”
If you are unable to determine what word the child is trying to say, refer to this article for more tips: https://www.nspt4kids.com/parenting/helping-your-child-with-articulation-difficulties/.
As a parent or a teacher, it is important to acknowledge attempts at communication while providing feedback on speech sound production. If your child continues to demonstrate speech sound errors or is frustrated with his or her speech, seek out the advice of a speech-language pathologist.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!